Michael Phelps (Getty Images)
Rio de Janeiro - In
an unforgettable display of Olympic power, Michael Phelps won two more
finals to take his historic all-time record load to 21 golds and cement
his legendary status.
His majestic display came on a day that Hungary's 'Iron Lady' Katinka
Hosszu took her third gold of the week while American gymnast Simone
Biles made a flying start to her bid for a record five Rio Olympic
golds. But tennis star Serena Williams crashed out of what could be her
Phelps beat Japan's Masato Sakai by just four hundredths of a second
to take the 200m butterfly and later anchored the USA 4x200m freestyle
relay team to victory.
At 31 - the oldest individual Olympic swimming gold medalist ever - Phelps is still the master of the pool.
After claiming his 20th title in five Olympics - beating old rival
Chad le Clos in the process - Phelps stood in the water striking a pose
like a Roman emperor, soaking up the acclaim.
The 200m butterfly was his first world record in 2001 and he was
determined to win back the Olympic title he lost to South Africa's Chad
Le Clos in 2012. But Phelps said that was also the last time he would
"That event is kind of like my bread and butter," Phelps said.
"There wasn't a shot in hell I was losing that race," he added. "And if I did, I was leaving everything in the pool."
Phelps returns on Wednesday for the heats and semi-finals of the 200m individual medley.
But nothing could beat Tuesday night's dramatic action in the pool,
with Hosszu completing the individual medley double by winning the 200m
final in an Olympic best 2:06.58.
Katie Ledecky, leading the new generation of American swimming stars,
captured her second gold of the Games by holding off a brave charge
from Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom to take the women's 200m freestyle final in
The United States is also looking forward to a new era of gymnastics
domination with Biles helping the USA women's team to victory by eight
points over Russia.
She is aiming for an unprecedented five titles this week.
"It's everything and more than I'd hoped it to be," said the tiny
19-year-old Texan who has set gymnastics alight with 10 world titles in
the past three years.
As her Olympic odyssey got underway, another crumbled as defending
tennis champion Williams suffered a shock 6-4, 6-3 defeat to Ukraine's
Elina Svitolina in the third round.
Williams, hampered by a shoulder injury, served five double faults in
one game of the second set as her own bid to reach five gold medals
The 34-year-old and her sister Venus were knocked out of the women's
doubles, the three-time champions' first ever defeat together in Olympic
"It was a great opportunity. It didn't work out the way I wanted it
to, but at least I was able to make it to Rio. That was one of my
goals," she said.
French Open champion Garbine Muguruza also crashed out, losing 6-1, 6-1 to Monica Puig of Puerto Rico.
In diving, competitors were
perplexed to find the water had turned from light blue to green
overnight, although organizers insisted it was safe.
China's Chen Ruolin shrugged off the colour-change to claim a
record-equaling fifth gold medal in the women's synchronized 10m
platform, with partner Liu Huixia.
New Zealand's rugby hopes took a blow when superstar Sonny Bill
Williams suffered a tournament-ending injury in their shock 14-12
opening defeat to Japan.
France won their first gold of Rio in the equestrian team events.
French hero Astier Nicolas also took a silver in the individual event
behind Germany's Michael Jung.
Chinese weightlifter Deng Wei won the women's 63kg category with a
world record after Taiwanese rival Lin Tzu-chi pulled out amid reports
of a failed dope test.
Fears over Olympic security meanwhile flared anew, after a bus carrying accredited press was attacked in Rio late Tuesday.
It remained unclear whether gunfire or stones were used in the media
bus attack, which smashed windows and slightly injured two journalists,
according to Rio organisers.